The Resilient Coast: Policy Frameworks for Adapting the Built Environment to Climate Change and Growth in Coastal Areas of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico
This report assesses policies and governance structures to mitigate hazards on the United States Gulf Coast, and makes recommendations for coastal communities to adapt to the impacts they will face due to climate change. Existing federal and state frameworks for coastal land use and hazard mitigation planning in the Gulf are explored. The strengths and weaknesses of federal laws (including the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act and the National Flood Insurance Program), as well as state and local planning authorities in the Gulf states, are presented. To bring issues into focus, the report identifies the lessons the Gulf Coast learned from Hurricane Katrina. Recommended policies include: improving local zoning and planning to encourage more compact development in less vulnerable areas, improving hazard mitigation planning, and changing flood insurance practices to discourage dangerous development. Finally, the report identifies the need for inter-agency cooperation and the gathering of better hazard data to facilitate these reforms.